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Urgent Rethink required for energy and fisheries

24 May 2004 – Wellington

Urgent Rethink required for energy and fisheries – Environment Summit to Chart New Ways Forward

New Zealand is facing some huge environmental challenges and some new ways forwared must be taken urgently to protect the country’s environmental quality.

The Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) is tackling issues at the top of the environmental priority list at its annual conference, held on 18-20 June this year in Christchurch and at Governor’s Bay on Bank’s Peninsula.

“Two national issues at the top of the list are the way New Zealand generates and wastes energy, and the way we manage our fisheries,” said ECO chairperson, Cath Wallace.

“The country needs to get on a new path with both energy and fisheries management pronto.

“It is astonishing that with all the heat over the foreshore and seabed there has been virtually nothing said about the government’s advanced plans to largely privatise fisheries management and research. We think that this will make ownership of the seabed irrelevant because the trawlers will have squashed anything that is there. We have already lost huge amounts of vital marine life and have crashed our most valuable fish stock, orange roughy,” says Wallace

The conference will canvass the practical means to get the country to switch tracks away from use of fossil fuels and into sustainable and secure energy paths.

“We have natural resources and the technology to make far better use of the energy we use and to shift away from energy sources that cause pollution and contribute to climate change. The conference will look at how we can bring about this change,” said Cath Wallace.

The ECO conference will also examine other environmental and conservation concerns, including South Island high country issues, water allocation, Antarctica, the attacks on the Resource Management Act and fast tracking proposals for big projects.

The 2004 ECO conference is to be held in Christchurch on 18 May and in Governor’s Bay on 19-20 June and is expected to draw conservationists and environmentalists from throughout the country for the three days. People can register by downloading the conference brochure from the ECO website, www.eco.org.nz or by phoning ECO on 04 386 7545.

ENDS

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